Several proteins ofviral and cellular origin are acylated with myristic acid early during their biogenesis. To investigate the possibility that myristylation occurred cotranslationally, the BC3Hl muscle cell line, which contains a broad array of myristylated proteins, was pulse-labeled with [3H]myristic acid. Nascent polypeptide chains covalently associated with transfer RNA were isolated subsequently by ion-exchange chromatography. [3H]Myristate was attached to nascent chains through an amide linkage and was identified by thin-layer chromatography after its release from nascent chains by acid methanolysis. Inhibition of cellular protein synthesis with puromycin resulted in cessation of [3H]myristate-labeling of nascent chains, in agreement with the dependence of this modification on protein synthesis in vivo. These data represent a direct demonstration that myristylation of proteins is a cotranslational modification.
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